I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
January 8, 2021
Truth be told, I’d rather close the book on 2020 and never, ever look back. But this blog is a record of my life, after all, and when historians carefully pore over these entries centuries from now for insight into how suburban white women lived during the (guessing here) Doucebaggian Period of American History, I’m 100% sure my take on 2020 will be considered the Authoritative Final Say on the Matter. Right? Right. Riiiiiight.
Anyway, with an audible gulp and the tiniest of dry heaves, here we go.
2020 taught me a lot, and many of the lessons weren’t good ones. I learned that in a time of crisis, Americans actually won’t pull together like they have in the past and do what needs to be done. Instead, they’ll run around doing exactly what they want — and then they’ll go yell at each other about it on social media.
I learned that our society values its elders even less than I thought. So many senior citizens have died from COVID. It’s horrifying to me not only that we’ve lost them but also that we’re not all more upset about it. I don’t know, I guess I thought we’d prioritize protecting them. And then we just… didn’t. My Facebook feed is filled both with death announcements and pics of ‘the gals getting together for lunch.’ Am I the only one struggling with this craziness?
I learned just how much damage one truly incompetent and unhinged president can do, despite our system of checks and balances. Whether Republican or Democrat, we’ve got to elect presidents who respect the office and the Democratic process — because things have gotten really weird in the White House and it could happen again if we’re not careful. (Interestingly, I wrote this paragraph a few days before the riot at the Capitol. Hmm.)
I also learned during 2020 that we have a new crisis on our hands: a partisan media. For the first time in my memory, television networks and newspapers have all taken sides and from my non-partisan, independent point-of-view, this means they’re no longer doing the essential job of constantly questioning all politicians and all public policy. The media have determined that they know what’s best for us and I can tell you as a former journalist myself that this is a very dangerous thing. We need ALL the information -whether or not it fits within a particular agenda– so that we can make our own decisions. And we’re not getting the full picture right now from any news source. Boo to that.
And I learned to pay $15.99 for twelve rolls of toilet paper and be grateful for it.
I learned to be more thankful for my family than ever before. We’re not perfect, but we’re tight-knit and loyal to one another, and in 2020, our closeness saved us. We spent a whole lotta time together, and it wasn’t even hard. Usually.
I learned that I really will do whatever it takes to protect my kids. One of our children is autoimmune-compromised, so when COVID struck back in March and we had no real data on how kids with autoimmune issues were tolerating the virus, I took my kids to Atlanta and we spent our lockdown at an apartment in my parents’ home until we had more information. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun, but I can look back and be proud that I didn’t dither — I used all available means to keep my family safe. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I learned in 2020 that my children are far more resilient than I had ever imagined. They’ve navigated virtual and in-person school throughout this pandemic and somehow even managed to get good grades. And when they could no longer get together with friends, both of them created social groups online — My son reconnected with friends from elementary school and now chats with a group of local boys and girls all day long. My daughter created an online group of 50 teens from around the world. They play online games together, chat, watch movies, and send each other gifts. I’m very surprised and so grateful my kids have navigated this pandemic like bosses.
I also learned how tough it can be when family members view something as serious as COVID through completely different lenses. I’ve always prided myself on my ability to see both sides of an issue, but COVID has really challenged me. When the health and lives of people I love are at stake, sometimes there can be no compromise — and that can wreak havoc on even the closest of relationships. I know I’m not the only person in a family where some are far more concerned about COVID than others and if you’re experiencing this right now, I want you to know you’re not alone. Navigating this situation is HARD. And if you need to talk to someone about it, I’m here for you.
And I learned that I might be a hugger, after all. Right now, I want to give everyone a big ole hug. We’ll see how long this feeling lasts when hugging is allowed again.
I learned to find solace in some really strange places. My kids convinced me to get a Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing back in March, and the game ended up being a pandemic phenomenon. I joined a Facebook group of about a hundred Animal Crossing-playing moms — some I knew, some I didn’t — and I can’t tell you how comforting it was to simply play a game with others where interacting with kindness and generosity was a core part of the experience. In a spring and summer filled with upheaval and unrest and animosity, it was just the escape I needed, and it reminded me that nice people were in fact still out there in the world.
I also learned in 2020 more than I ever really wanted to know about a man named Joe Exotic.
I learned just how much I love the outdoors. I spent a LOT of time outdoors in 2020 and it just might have saved my sanity.
I also finally learned how to eat and exercise in a sustainably healthy way. Having extra time in 2020 allowed me to come up with a plan that’s very effective and that I can actually follow for the rest of my life — I’ll definitely be writing more about this soon, because I think what I’ve learned could be a game changer for some of you, too, and it involves no gimmicks, supplements, discomfort, or expensive exercise equipment. It’s a pretty basic plan and it totally works.
And I learned about Karens and Zoom meetings, social distancing and doomscrolling, super spreaders and quarantine pods, contact tracing and remote learning, remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine, P.P.E. and N95s… My vocabulary in 2020 contained many new words that I hope to never use again once this is all over.
I learned that deep-seated stress emerges in my skin, of all places. I’ve been able to remain pretty calm throughout this whole pandemic… but stress and anxiety have definitely been bubbling under the surface and as a result, I’ve been battling both painful eczema and hives for months now. Not fun. Not fun at all.
I also learned that I really, really hate masks.
I learned to get creative in order to see the people I love. We found this poolside Airbnb and were able to visit my stepdaughters in Chattanooga over the summer, play in the pool together and hang out at the indoor/outdoor bar while staying safe. We loved the place so much that we’re already planning to rent it again, even after the pandemic is over! We also managed socially-distanced vacations to Jekyll Island and Rugby, Tennessee. As you know, travel is my favorite thing to do, so 2020 was extra challenging for me in that respect.
Finally, I learned a new appreciation for the ability to gather together. Eleven months into pandemic life, I now deeply miss concerts and date nights, plays and movies, weddings and amusement park visits, book club meetings and bar hopping… Until 2020, I took all these things for granted. Never again.
So far, 2021 isn’t off to a great start. COVID cases and deaths continue to skyrocket and there’s so much unrest in our nation right now. But we have hope — in the form of a vaccine. My greatest wish is that this time next year, things will be normal again — and I hope our 2020 experiences will give us a new appreciation for ‘normal’ and all that comes with it.
Happy New Year, everyone! Hang in there!